Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
Up All Night
Saturday night wasn’t done with the Weakerthans, no sir. After a quick pit stop at home to change into some dry socks and shoes, it was back out the door to Sneaky Dee’s to catch The Airfields’ release show for their debut album Up All Night (officially out today), which I previewed last week. Most of it, anyway. I arrived too late to catch Terror Lake and based on the number of people who told me I missed out, I was under the impression that I’d missed out. Alas. Next time, Lake of Terror. Next time.
I was in time, however, to catch Love Kills who had been recommended to me a number of times in the past with the pitch, “they sound like the Jesus & Mary Chain with boy-girl vocals”, which is to say they sound like The Raveonettes. And as reductive as that sounds, it’s actually pretty accurate though I enjoyed Love Kills more than I did The Raveonettes when I saw them live. Love Kills weren’t nearly as abrasive as either of the above reference points and were more willing to let their pop side show, particularly as delivered by Heather Flood and Pat Rijd’s spot-on harmonies. And while Rijd, all stoic in his mirrored shades, offered a reasonably lifelike facsimile of either Reid brother or Sune Wagner, Flood was far too giddy onstage to compare to Sharin Foo’s icy Nordic cool. But that’s alright, I think I’d rather see someone having a good time.
I’ve seen the Airfields numerous times in the past and while they’ve always been enjoyable shows, there always seemed to be a caveat to go with the performance, whether needed or not. They had new members, they hadn’t played in ages, they hadn’t slept in days, whatever. But if there was ever a night that would suffer no excuses, it was this one. A release show they themselves had organized for a CD that was sold out long before they took the stage before a packed house of friends and fans – a band couldn’t ask for a better set of circumstances under which to perform and in response, The Airfields delivered the best show I’ve ever seen them play.
Their strengths on record – the terrific melodicism, delicate arrangements and their ability to wear their influences on their sleeve without them becoming the whole outfit – were on display alongside their strengths in performance which aren’t as immediately obvious from their recordings, namely a healthy amount of reckless energy and an appreciation for the finer points of making a good, loud racket. Given the opportunity to play a full-length set – and well-earned encore – for the first time since I’ve seen them, they were able to visit material from all three of their releases as well as throw in a Field Mice cover for good measure. As a fan, it was really gratifying to see a band that’s had more than its share of fits and starts finally deliver on their immense potential. Bravo.
Their next show is on March 6 at the Wrongbar as part of Canadian Music Week. It’s a showcase for the Unfamiliar Records, with whom the band will be releasing an EP of their noisier material in the near future.
Photos: The Airfields, Love Kills @ Sneaky Dee’s – February 2, 2008
MP3: The Airfields – “Never See You Smile”
MP3: The Airfields – “Yr So Wonderful”
MP3: The Airfields – “Lonely Halls”
Video: The Airfields – “Red Fox”
MySpace: The Airfields
MySpace: Love Kills
Visa issues resolved, England’s New Model Army will finally be in town for a show at the Horseshoe on April 14.
Two-Way Monologues talks to Jane Vain & The Dark Matter, in town on Thursday at the Drake and again on Sunday at Sneaky Dee’s. Congratulations to Heath, who won passes to the Drake show as well as a copy of their new CD Love Is Where The Smoke Is.